A young couple approached Andres Remy Arquitectos to build a home that was similar to a previous ARA design they had previously seen. Liking ARA’s work, they gave the architects freedom to create a home that would take advantage of their new lakeside lot located 30km from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The lot size was 20m wide and 50m long with panoramic views of the lake on one end and street access on the other. To keep easy access to the street while staying up close and personal with the lake, the architects chose to divide the home into two volumes connected by a glass bridge that traveled over a shallow interior courtyard pool. The volume closest to the street would house the kitchen and dining zones while the other contains the living areas. The courtyard pool allows the sun’s rays to enter, bounce off of the water and refract into the home on both sides.
The first volume resides in close proximity to the street and consists mainly of a black facade and only a few small windows to retain the homeowners privacy. This black facade is what gives the home its name “Black House”. Even the driveway is black with gridlines of natural grass.
The Black House, while closed and private, offers an interesting building block silhouette of rectangular cubes projecting in varying directions. These cubes protect the entrance by both framing and overhanging it.
Even the stairs leading up to the entry takes on a stacked building block format.
The door to the residence is a solid dark plane with a very long handle that reflects the lines of the stairwell balustrade visible through the windows.
On entering the home, a central staircase leads to the upper levels while short halls lead to the kitchen on the left and dining on the right. The kitchen features views to the inner courtyard pool as well as views to the side yard. Enveloped completely in white and stainless steel, the kitchen is rich in colour from the yard and pool.
With the all white scheme, the homeowners have the opportunity to bring in the colour of their choice for a pop. This can be done via small appliances, artwork or flowers.
On the other side of the first volume is the dining room. Flanked in glass on two sides, the dining room has a front row seat to the courtyard pool as it transforms into a narrow waterway traveling down the side of the social volume creating a connection to the backyard pool. Wrapped in white with a dark dining table and chairs, a dramatic focal point is created by the oversized drum pendant above.
The vantage point from the dining room table is a surreal waterscape through the various planes of glass from the various bodies of water. Whether it is the lake, the backyard pool or the courtyard pool, all are visible and all create a play on perception blurring the lines between the real and the reflected.
The dining room and kitchen are accessed by a walkway close to the courtyard pool and both areas are just off of the glass bridge that connects to the 2nd volume or social zone. Wrapped in glass on both the sides and bottom, the bridge offers an up close and personal view of the pool while at the same time being completely separate from it.
The glass bridge is centrally located over the courtyard pool.
The central location of the glass bridge creates a central division to the social zone on the other side.
The views from the lake are easily visible from the 1st volume and the courtyard pool and backyard pool create a connectivity to the lake that is both relaxing and energizing.
There are also views to each side yard via window glazings and on the kitchen side there is also stepping platforms that lead to a door to the side deck.
The social zone is divided into two areas. On one end has an open fireplace and the other a media centre. The Square pot lights in the ceiling are featured against the clean and simple backdrop offering a modernist approach to lighting while at the same time re-emphasizing the geometry of the space.
The fireplace is open on three sides but appears to be open all the way around. A glass panel breaks the wall lines for a view through to the side yard beyond The window also offers an outdoor view of the fire when lit.
The social volume is 4 steps down from 1st volume. This creates short walls up to the courtyard pool windows and these short walls envelope the zone and add in a cozy factor that would otherwise be lacking.
The right side of the 2nd volume is outfitted with a media centre complete with a recessed area large enough to fit any sized TV.
Watching TV could prove to be difficult with the distracting views of the pool and lake beyond. Even the media wall has a long and narrow window located just below the TV recess.
The 10mx5m social zone opens to the pool deck via sliding glass walls and the transition to the sunny outdoors is softened by the cantilevered Master Bedroom above.
The pool deck wraps around the side yard and connects to a flight of stairs that leads to stepping platforms within the kitchen side courtyard pool. The side deck is also covered by the Master Bedroom overhang which is outfitted with a series of a dozen pot lights to keep the space well lit into the evening, even the fireplace window bathes the deck with light as does the kitchen and social zone.
The geometry of the front facade continues with in the back with the overhang of the bedroom and the long rectangular pool jutting out at right angles from the residence.
While water plays an integral role in the design and location of the Black House, the outdoor deck and large expanse of grass means that there is room for plenty of outdoor activities that don’t involve getting wet.
There is even a terrace upstairs off of the Master Suite for outdoor.
The Master Suite connects to the outdoor views via the terrace as well as via walls of glass that wrap the bedroom corner seamlessly. TV viewing is via a projector mounted high above the bed that projects the images onto a screen that raises and lowers with the touch of a button.
For those who prefer to cruise the net from the privacy of a bedroom, what better place for a laptop station then surrounded by these spectacular panoramic lakeside views.
The shallow pool divides the residence on both levels and each level uses a bridge to achieve connection. The staircase in the foyer of the home leads up to the guest bedrooms in the front and from there; a bridge connects to the Master Suite.
The courtyard pool allows indirect lighting via the sun to enter the inner corridor and refract into the residence.
The light also refracts off of the side connector pool.
Street side the home tells a story of privacy and containment, but once inside the story changes dramatically.
Photography by Alejandro Peral